Vein resection in pancreatic cancer surgery
Getting a margin of clearance around a tumour when resecting is important for prognosis. Sometimes the only factor preventing a clear resection margin is how close the tumour is to the major veins near the head of the pancreas (such as the superior mesenteric vein and portal vein).
If it is thought that the surgery to remove a section of vein will make a difference to the resection margin, then surgery is considered where sections of the vein involved are removed then joined together again using a graft from another part of the body.
Vein resection is only carried out in cases where involvement is small, the surgeon is able to predict a good outcome from resection and doctors are confident of clear resection margins (i.e. the surgeon thinks this procedure will benefit the patient).